NFL Considering Widening Field For Player Safety
The NFL has been trying very hard to create a safer product for it’s fans and a more exciting product for its fans. The concern over head injuries is driving the decision-makers in the league and their motives; and if for no other reason than self-preservation, the NFL is willing to consider anything that might help make the greatest game in the world still the most watched game in the world.
So it should come as no surprise that the league would consider widening the field by 35 feet. Currently, an NFL field is 160 feet, and a CFL field is 195 feet. The belief is that having a field that is wider would open up the congestion on the field, and reduce some of the big impacts that happen, in particular on passing plays.
The counter to this argument is while there might be fewer impacts per game, some want to believe that giving defenders more room to run simply means the hits they will get will be coming at it with even greater impact. Should the league consider something like this, obviously this would be a value judgment they would have to weigh heavily.
One thing that would not be up for debate would be the impact it would have on the game play. Widening the field would absolutely increase scoring across the league. Creating a wider field forces the defense to cover a significantly larger area and that plays right into the hands of these new high-powered run/pass offenses. Depending on how old school you are, this is either a really good change or the end of the football world.
This seems like a change that would be fiscally and logistically challenging to say the least. It also screams of desperation by the league to try and appease the critics of the amount of injuries in the league. Of all the things the league can do to make the game safer, this seems like one of the most drastic and potentially ineffective ways to do it.